Ah These Sassy Girls

Tatum on the Couch

Tatum Snuggled In

Well, I am learning, yet again, all about dog training all over again! At least it sure seems like it. 🙂 I didn’t really know how to train Lucy, I will admit. Lucy was a sweet young girl, when she was young. However, she was, first and foremost, a girl. And unlike my sweet goofy dorky boys, Lucy had spunk and sass and I was at a loss.

And now I have another girl I’m learning how to train. Tatum may have started out as a shy and fearful rescue collie girl. But now, she is smart and sassy and no longer afraid. Sometimes she will revert back to acting like she is afraid. And perhaps she is somewhat afraid when I need to get her and she skitters off. And Skitter is the best word I can find for it. She goes into a trot and her tail goes down and she won’t come to any human. Chasing after her is not something I want to do, though then I wouldn’t have to get any Anoretix to help me to lose weight.

Tatum on the Couch

Tatum is a bossy girl!

I’m 95% sure that is from her living in a hoarders yard and the only way people could catch her was to chase her into a corner.  But now she is not hurt. I have worked very hard over the last year to build up her confidence and give her a great sense of herself.  Well, I may have swung the pendulum a bit too far! LOL… though I don’t know if that’s possible, because I love having confident dogs.  I want my dogs to be confident and sure of themselves and know they are going to be treated well. I want them to trust me, too.

I have been working a little bit with Tatum around agility equipment. And I’m finding that sassy girl come out.  I want to be firm with her. She needs to be able to handle firm humans, not just ones that are molly-coddling her with treats. Because in the agility ring, and the obedience ring, stuff happens. She really has to come with me. With or without treats. Of course I encourage her with treats, but I’m fading the lure. I have lured her for a year and now it’s time to fade those so she knows she can come with me without them. However, she has a lot of spunk now and she’s asserting herself. Which I love! And I have no idea how to deal with! LOL. So with the help of my trainer I am learning.

I was a bit afraid that Tatum would shut down on me and stop working all together. Last Friday we were out on the agility equipment, and she didn’t shut down. Anyway.. here is the story.

In the agility yard Tatum seems to want to go off and do her own thing, unless I have a treat in her nose. And in a trial, no treat will be in her nose. And so we are working on fading out the treats. We have two jumps set up, and she is on a sit before the first jump. Next, she has to do a paw touch to my hand, then she gets a click and treat, and then she goes over the jump to a treat on a target. Next she goes over the next jump, me calling the jump, and then she comes to me and sits before she gets another treat.

Tatum on the Couch

She looks so sweet asleep.

The reason I am doing this is because Tatum will tend to disconnect from me and go skittering off. Or she’ll just go hopping off for fun if she sees something more interesting. And yes, even though I use super good treats, she still can get distracted and disconnect. And I really need to work on her staying connected to me while we work.  And really she needs to connect to me, not just to the treats.

Tatum is very smart and she’s a good girl.  And I woud never have figured this stuff out on my own. I’m so thankful for my trainer.  I didn’t know how to train Lucy, and that’s why we never got very far in obedience or agility. Now i have more resources and with Tatum I am determined to go much further!

After we did the jump work with her, we thought we’d see how she did on the tunnel.  Well.. this bratty little girl goes cruising into the tunnel as happy as a clam, and doesn’t come out the other end! LOL she peeked out and looked at us like she was going ‘na na na naaaa…’ I laughed so hard I almost fell over. I know, I shouldn’t laugh ’cause it’s a reward, but I couldn’t help myself.  She is such a brat!  So we gave up on the tunnel and we went to the teeter.

She did great on the teeter. Strangely enough, she has no fear of contacts. We’ve done them before and she just goes right over and down, A-Frame and all. She doesn’t quite tip the teeter on her own, and she’s too square and fragile to slam it down (I’d be afraid it hurt her), so my trainer told me to leash her up to do the teeter. That way we can stay connected again. At the beginning, she sat and did the paw touch, then went over the teeter in a controlled manner, then at the bottom she got another treat and a release.

And since it’s difficult, a lot of the time, to keep the dog connected and engaged between the obstacles (it’s the silence between the notes that make the music) i kept her engaged with me as we walked back around the teeter and we did the same thing again.

Don’t think this training stuff is my idea… LOL I cannot take credit! My trainer is amazing and has great ideas. I wish I could have such ideas.   And hopefully with this great foundation work Tatum will come along in her training nicely. And I’m going to start doing the paw touch and the treat in flyball too. Because her speed and her running isn’t the issue at this point. It’s the connection she has with me. And since she never really bonded with a human when she was a puppy, we have to let her know it’s a good thing to bond, and stay connected, to me.

And I know she is bonded to me, when she rubs her head in my hip on the couch at night and I scritch her neck and her ears. I’m still not completely sure what kind of relationship we have, because of her past, and she’s different that my other dogs, both rescued and not.  So I am learning. And I love learning how to teach her and work with her and communicate with her.  It’s an amazing process!

Sorry this is such a long post.. but I want to record our progress so I can look back in a year and see how far we have come!  I have such a rotten memory! LOL